A Delicious Reality: Low-Fat Meals That Are Easy To Cook

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 11, 1995

Many working people resort to stoking up on frozen microwave dinners or taking out high-fat food from a delicatessen because they don’t know how to cook easy, low-fat meals.

This recipe for Easy Apricot Glazed Chicken is a snap to prepare and, best of all, it’s low in fat and sodium. The entire dinner, including a generous portion of deliciously tangy and sweet chicken, rice and green peas, has only 354 calories, fewer than 5 grams of fat and 190 milligrams of sodium. Compare that with most low-fat microwave dinners, which are loaded with sodium.

Easy Apricot Glazed Chicken is made with skinless chicken breasts that are glazed with a sweet-savory combination of sugar-free apricot preserves and whole-grain mustard. You may already have the ingredients you need in your refrigerator.

First, bake the chicken with the glaze for 30 minutes, then add enough cooked white rice and frozen green peas to make a tasty pilaf for two. The rice bakes along with the chicken and absorbs some of the delicious glaze. The result is a filling, nutritious meal made at home in about the time it takes to change clothes and unwind after a stressful day at work.

The recipe takes about 10 minutes to prepare, then the oven does the rest. You can cook regular white rice in about 12 minutes or make instant rice in less than 5 minutes. You can easily double the recipe to feed four hungry people or triple it to serve six. Just be sure to cook with skinless chicken breasts, because much of the fat in chicken is concentrated in the skin.

Easy Apricot Glazed Chicken

Non-stick cooking spray

2 skinless chicken breasts with bone (about 6 ounces each)

1 tablespoon sugar-free apricot fruit spread

1 tablespoon whole-grain or Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon apple cider or white wine vinegar

1 cup cooked rice

1/2 cup frozen green peas

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place the chicken in the baking dish. In a small container, mix together the apricot fruit spread, mustard and vinegar. Smear the mixture evenly over the chicken. Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Stir together the rice and peas and spoon the mixture around the chicken breasts. Bake for another 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Yield: 2 servings.

Notes: This recipe can easily be doubled to feed four people. Make sure to use a pan big enough to cook the chicken without crowding. You can make this recipe using partially frozen chicken breasts, but add another 10 to 15 minutes to the overall cooking time.

Nutrition information per serving: 354 calories, 35 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fat, 40 grams protein, 96 milligrams cholesterol, 190 milligrams sodium.

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